Guidelines for VIDEOS
on your Web Site

 

If you are considering putting up one or more videos on your website, here are some guidelines to get you started.

 

If you follow these guidelines, the chances are that your videos will be much more effective.

 

1. Have A Purpose

Before you go to the trouble of making a video to put on your website, be certian you have a good reason for doing so.

 

Nothing is more boring or puzzling to your potential customer than a video that doesn't make sense, that doesn't have a point.

 

People who view your videos are giving you precious time out of their lives. Be sure to make valuable use of it. If you don't, they can be very harsh in their criticism - meaning they'll leave your site and won't come back.

 

Some possible purposes for a video on your website include:

 

Introduction. The purpose of an introductory video is for you as a person or for your product or service. If you introduce yourself, the purpose is to establish yourself as a pleasant and friendly "real" person, someone the visitor might like to do business with. If you are introducing your product or service, give them a quick explanation of what it is and does, and some of the ways it can benefit them.

 

Introduction videos need to be short, genereally one minute or less.

 

Product Or Service Demo. The purpose of an demo video is to show your product or service in action. These sorts of videos should usually follow the PAR format; show the problem, show the actions taken with your product or service, and show the results.

 

Education. The purpose of an educational video is enhancing your credibility as an expert, and demonstrating to your clients that helping them is more important to you than making an extra dollar wherever you can. An educational video is an excellent advertising tool, because in this, you are giving away something for free, which always makes your potential customers feel much better about you and your business practices.

 

Testimonial. A testimonial video is quite a bit more effective and credible than a written-only testimonial would be. Your visitors can actually see and hear the person who has used your business, and they can be much more reassured that what they're hearing is real.

 

To be most effective, you should physically write down the purpose of any video you propose to put on your website.

 

2. Prepare A Well-Written Script

A script not only includes the words to be spoken during the video, it also includes the scene, the staging, the action, and any other elements essential to making the video.

 

Your script is your PLAN for the video. Be sure to have a good one.

 

3. Have A Good Venue For The Shoot

The location you pick for your shoot can spell success or disaster for your video.

 

First the location needs to be appropriate to the purpose of your video. If your business is detailing cars, then it's probably not appropriate to shoot your video in a library or gymnasium.

 

Be aware of the "backdrop," the things that will appear behind the subject when you shoot your main scenes. One of the ways around this is to shoot your main scenes against a "green screen," which your editor can then replace in a later step with a background appropriate to the video. There are plenty of how-to videos on the internet on how to create and use a green screen.

 

Pay attention to the lighting. If you're not hiring an expert to shoot the video for you, then you need to do some research on the internet about such things as light color, placement, temperature range, and type-matching. Making a video in which the lighting is not done properly brands you as an amateur, and will cost you credibility, even if your business has nothing to do with making videos.

 

Also give some attention to the sound. Using an on-camera microphone is not nearly as effective as using a dedicated external microphone, particularly a lavalier mic for people who are speaking. The venue should be as nearly silent as possible, because today's microphones are sensitive enough to pick up central air conditioner fans or traffic more than a block away.

 

4. Allow Plenty of Time To Do The Recording

It will take at least twice as long to record your video as you initially think it might.

 

You should allow at least two hours to shoot even a one-minute video, and it might take longer, depending on the skill and acting ability of the person being recorded.

 

You CAN record yourself, but we don't advise it. You need to have a disinterested third party directing the shots, someone with the training and skill and gumption to tell you such things as "Smile more!" and "You held your mouth wrong that time," and "You just don't sound like you mean it." This is what a professional videographer can do for you.

 

5. Hire a Good Video Editing Specialist, Allow At Least A Month

Video editing is one of the most important steps. It requires a specialized set of editing skills, specialized software, and a computer with sufficient horsepower to handle the job.

 

Be certain your video has graphics (and possibly links) back to your website address, and contact information for your business.

 

Be patient. It takes time to evaluate all the clips that were taken during the shoot, to select the best clips, to edit them for the right start and stop points, to overlay them properly for continuity of the message, to design and blend all the required graphics, and to edit the sound as needed.

 

Sure, you can do this yourself, but if you don't already have these skills and the software and hardware, you should be prepared for at least six months of study and an expenditure of about $2,000.

 

6. Produce Your Video in an Online-Compatible Format

Generally, your video editor from the step above will return your video to you in a format compatible with being uploaded to either your website or to one of the popular video sharing sites.

 

You should avoid formats such as AVI, FLV, and some of the newer formats. Instead stick with MP4 or MOV format files, as these are the most accepted formats. Standard definition is fine, but most hosts and visitors these days can easily accommodate HD (Hi-definition).

 

7. Upload Your Video to the Right Video File Sharing Site

In most cases, it's best to upload to YouTube. This is because it's the largest video sharing site on the planet, and if you upload there, it is a virtual certainty that people you never expected to will see your video.

 

Also, it's extremely easy to embed a video from YouTube into your web page.

 

The main drawback to YouTube is that it puts its own logo on every playback. If you don't mind this (and usually, you shouldn't), then YouTube is fine. However, if you would rather have a logo-free video, we recommend a Vimeo premium account. This is very affordable, and we can set this up for you if you like.

 

8. Have the Video Embedded In Your Web Page Properly

The things to consider when embedding a video in your web page include making sure it fits in with the topic of the page, positioning it so it's easy to see, yet doesn't block out other important content on the page, and the sizing of the video player on the page.

 

Some people prefer to embed a very small player, to leave room for other content on the page, knowing most people will click the video to full-screen, while other prefer to embed a video of a more viewable size.

 

These are decisions you'll have to make on your own, but you should be okay if you simply recall videos embedded on other pages, and recall whether you liked that size or wished it were different.

 

If you have suggestions or questions for this page, please use our Contact page to let us know.